tag you’re it

1. What’s your Starbucks drink?
It used to be an extra hot white mocha 1/2 flavoring but now it’s a grande americano with cream.  I think i’m becoming lactose intolerant in my old age.

2. What movie do you like better – Lord of the Rings or Starwars?                                                   Lord of the Rings…unless I can say neither.

3. What’s your token fall fashion item?
Probably a sweater cardigan or some kind of close toed shoes.

4. Your cable is out and the TV fairy is allowing you to pick one boxed set to watch, what show do you choose?
My cable is always out.  I think I’d rewatch Parenthood or Gilmore Girls.

5. What’s your favorite ice cream flavour?
I like caramel and coffee and peanut butter/chocolate but not altogether.

6. What’s your go-to food when you are having a bad day?
Sugar.  I love sugar.

7. You get to choose a free trip, do you choose a beach or city vacation?
Always the ocean…with lots of good food and good books.

8. What’s the first thing you do when you get home from work?
My home is my work…but if I’m out during the day, first thing I do when I get home is change into comfy clothes.

9.  If you were granted one wish, what would it be?                                                                               I would love to have one far away friend visit every other weekend, throughout the year.

10.  What quote is blowing your mind right now?                                                                                   “Physical obedience brings spiritual release.”  Kris Vallotton

 

a wishlist for maya

Because I’m not spending $ right now…I window-shop online sometimes.  Here’s what I’m loving for Maya lately-in case anyone wants to buy her something. lol.

 

 

a birthday post…just a tad late

*So- Maya’s 3rd birthday was in November, but I failed to write a birthday post for her because, well…our house had just gone under contract and we were moving across the country.  But- even though I haven’t done a baby book for her yet, I will not shirk her birthday love.  My dream is to sit down with each kid when they are a little older and read each of their birthday posts to them…in my mind we laugh and cry and it’s super memorable- in reality they might possibly be bored, but I’ll love it either way.*

Happy 3rd birthday my dearest daughter.  You are 3.  It’s official- you’re not my baby anymore but that won’t stop me from cradling you like one.  I love your cuddles; on your terms, of course, but I will take ’em however they come.  I think this is the year we really bonded, you and me.  You are the sweetest little human…your whole face brightens when you smile and even when you don’t, your features are just too cute.  Your dad is your hero and your favorite person in the world still…I know why- remember, I chose him first.  It’s so amazing to see the bond you two have, and I’m beyond grateful because I love being close to my own father and I hope that for you too.

At the moment, you’re so obsessed with all things princess that its hard for me to remember back over the last year…but you did have a dino phase, thanks to your brothers.  You love carrying around toys everywhere you go.  You love playing with Regan most of all, yet you admire Josiah so much.  I sometimes catch you staring at him…it’s so sweet.  This last year you moved into a big girl bed, which you promptly ignored because you favor hard sleeping surfaces I guess.  Every night we’d put you to sleep in your bed and every morning we’d find you on the floor, usually in a corner or a closet… sometimes I’d just put you to sleep on the floor so you didn’t have to move all your bedding to the carpet later.  I love that you still use the same baby blankets that you have since you were born.  The corners are all so destroyed, but you don’t mind- I suppose I could call them well-loved.

Your facial expressions are like none other.  You are so expressive in the funniest, weirdest ways.  We love the way you walk…with such unique movements- for no one but yourself.  I have no idea what you’re thinking most of the time.  You are strong and you know what you want but slowly you are learning to bend here and there.  You laugh so much and I love the adorable sound it is…your whining was over the top this year but that’s mostly because we dumbly let you get away with it.  Ha!  This was the year I began to style your hair…the process not a favorite for either of us, though I loved the pigtails.  The torture actually led to your first big girl haircut.  This was also the year you fell in love with dresses and tried refusing to wear anything else.  I really love when kids start deciding on styles…but I also really love dressing my adorable little girl…so, compromise.  I bought more dresses but forced jeans on you sometimes because your little legs are so cute in them.  You are choosy with shoes, just like me and you love bows in your hair..unlike me.

Your little voice is so adorable.  We understand most of what you say these days…except what you learn from Regan.  Ha!  I love the way you’ll come find me when you need a snuggle and I love opening your door in the morning or after a nap to see how and where you’ve slept.  I love your dimples and your tiny teeth…your big feet and sweet girly hands. Even after three years, I’m still in awe that I get to have a daughter.  You are so. much. fun.

Love you forever sweetie mymy…

love Mommy

maya1my2my3my4my5my7my8my9my10my11my12my13my14my15my17my18my19

things i’ve discovered

Here are some things I’ve discovered since we moved…

i love 8:30 school so much better than 8am school. related: this morning i slept thru my 7:34 alarm and woke up at 7:49.  still managed to get the boys in the car by 8:03. phew.

social media isn’t the same out here…by 11pm my instagram feed is boring and dead because all my peeps are sleeping.  and in the morning half of people’s days are done already.  bizarre. related: i took Facebook off my phone and its a dream come true- seriously.  now i have to make a conscious effort to check fb on the computer once a day.  love it.

i LOVE natural light in houses and will not compromise on that in our next house.  related: plants need sun…some of mine are dying.

its so fun talking with my family about visit dates without plane tickets involved

theres a whole new world out there of toddler dance and gymnastics clothing that i had no idea about.  yikes

i think rain makes me want to read more.  related: i enjoy reading the same books as my husband, now that he’s found a new love for reading.  i hope it continues

i don’t like the patriots at all.  never knew that until sunday

having a treadmill in your bedroom offers no more motivation than when its in your basement.  bummer

my boys are not good room sharers

i complete forgot about toys and activities i did with my toddler boys until a friend reminded me…so i’m making a portable sand box for maya this week

california sells raos marinara!  hallelujah, we can still eat pasta. related: i like grocery shopping again…it was just new jersey.  also related: an old dog can learn new tricks…haven’t forgotten my reusable bags yet

i like having bunny ears on our tv…reminds me of living in KC and every once in awhile i even get to watch Ellen

its been reiterated over and over in my mind…i love white walls!

i like good water pressure in showers…it actually propels my love for showering…so alas, here i’m not a good showerer.  related: watching my 6 year old clean our bathroom is like seeing my future brighten right before me

i missed trader joes (or having one close) and apparently so does bart.  he told me- buy all the things from trader joes. hehe. unrelated: we need a date night

 

we drove across the USA

*i wrote the first half of this post the week after we drove across the US in December…and then finished it this week.*

*If you ever need to drive across the United States, take my kids- they were so easy.  I mean, I really enjoy my kids most of the time but even I was nervous to spend an entire week stuck in a car with them.  They were CHAMPS.  Me, on the other hand, don’t include me in your travels.  I whine and complain and get bored very quickly.  Our dog even did better than me.

I will admit, I am still in shock at how smooth our cross country journey went.  Even as I write, I am in awe of the goodness of God.  His kindness is overwhelming- for reals!!!  I just keep thinking He really knows me…He knew that after such a whirlwind move, the last thing I could tackle was a difficult week-long drive.  Ha!  He’s the best.

3,300 miles.  14 states.  7 days total.

Last Saturday we packed up our entire home into a truck and as soon as the door was latched, we jumped in our very-loaded car and drove to Pittsburgh…arriving roughly at 1am.  I knew we’d have enough adrenaline from our move to get that far in the same day, but it was pretty exhausting.

We all slept in, so the next day we got on the road by 10am and ended up in St. Louis eleven hours later.  The day flew by shockingly and I think there was only one dvd involved.  Our 90 lb lab settled in nicely in the only spot left for her, behind the driver/passenger seats and our kids were enamored with their backpacks ‘o fun.***

Okay…so sadly you don’t get a play by play anymore, because that’s where I left off back in December- but I am still in awe that we not only survived a drive across the country, we thrived.  Weird.  So miraculous.  So God.  Our quick stop in Kansas City to be with best friends was super needed and re-energized us completely.  And then we did 3 more full days of driving…9-12 hours a day in the car and we only ever fully stopped for lunch each day.  Then Bart and I would switch drivers when we got gas and maybe twice the entire time a kid would need a bathroom…bizarre…as I write this, I’m like- am I lying?  Ha!  No…I promise.

The other really cool God thing was that several times as we left a stop, bad weather was on its way there.  We ended up “just missing” several snow storms, a frozen KC tundra, and more…it was crazy!  The only real snow we hit was near Pendleton, Oregon and that was on our very last day.

Our itinerary below: Brick, NJ-Pittsburg, PA-St. Louis, MO-Kansas City, MO-Ft. Collins, CO-Boise, Idaho-Port Angeles, WA.  PHEW.  Then of course, ten days later we drove from Port Angeles, WA down the coast to Redding, CA (that was just 11 hours and 650 more miles- and seemed so easy comparatively).

Needless to say, we were and are glad to be settled in our little rental here in NorCal.  It’s been fun exploring and getting to know our new home.  Come visit!

map

a ghetto picture of a computer screen map…this is our trip though 🙂

1st

we emptied our entire NJ house onto the lawn.  and then it all fit into that truck.  except for a few things we left behind.

2

tried to add a little christmas wherever we could…

4

brinks did amazing…

6

our stop in KC with some besties was exactly what we all needed!

5

lots of “notels” as regan called them..the boys actually did ok sharing a bed.  maya however, reverted back to a packnplay. win some. lose some.

8

lots and lots of open road…

7

she slept a little each day

9

and we held hands a lot…

10

when we finally hit washington. beauty.

11

and finally to my parents home!!! it felt so good and so surreal.

i read.

Miraculously these days, I’ve been getting back into reading- yay!  I hate when I have dry spells…it makes me so sad.  I thought for sure I’d get lots of reading time in as we drove across the united states, but alas- not a single page was read.  But now, I’m back on the wagon.  I thought for anyone who was interested, I’d fill you in on my favorites of late.

goneLong Way Gone  by Charles Martin- one of my favorite authors…this is his latest and it’s seriously good.  Music is woven through the entire heartfelt story- it’s just so good.  If you haven’t read it and like easily readable wonderfully woven fiction…read this one!

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult -another of my favorite authors… this one stands pretty much alone in my opinion though.  She takes on racism in a way I haven’t encountered in books often and it makes you think, so hard.  This book was one that took awhile to read, only because I felt so sick/energized for change…a lot of chew on.  SUCH a great story.

French Kids Eat Everything: by Karen Le Billon- perhaps a random pick you might think…but this is a fascinating book that I’m still reading through.  My hope is that it will inspire me to change my children’s eating habits and add even more healthy awareness of food to their lives.  It’s written by an american woman living abroad so it’s very relatable.

magnoThe Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines -I’ve had this book since it came out and just never got around to reading it until this month.  It’s a super easy read, and if you like Chip and Joanna- this will only solidify your love for them.  It also gave me hope for my future…whatever that may be.

Destined to Win: How to Embrace Your God-Given Identity… by Kris Vallotton – this one just came out and bart actually bought it.  When it showed up on my kindle list I thought I’d take a quick peek which turned into half the book done last night.  It’s super simple but really energizing and makes you want to go out and conquer the world by feeling loved and loving others.  There’s a lot more to it, but that’s my thoughts so far.

the two books on my coffee table at the moment…

In the Company of Women: by Grace Bonney  -I bought this for myself for Christmas and while I haven’t finished it, I have loved it so far.  It’s very inspiring and I’m learning a lot.  It is such a beautiful book.

dominoDomino: Your guide to a Stylish Home by Editors of domino  -I loved the first Domino decor book and this one does not disappoint.  It’s gorgeous and fun to flip through…and plus it looks really pretty in the middle of a coffee table.

 

 

next up on my ‘nightstand’ persay…

The Broken Way: by Ann Voskamp This book as come highly recommended by a dear friend so I couldn’t say no.  I might be the only person in this world who didn’t read One Thousand Gifts…don’t stone me.

slowChasing Slow by Erin Loechner  I’ve seen this book floating around the internet a lot this month and was curious…haven’t started it yet but I’ll let you know.  It’s such a pretty book though.

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake  Just got this recommendation from Jen Hatmaker’s email blast so I downloaded the sample.  It looks like it’s about wartime/nazi/a postmistress who delivers secrets as her job…that’s all I know.

Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks  This has been on my kindle for many months but I still have yet to start it.  Someone tell me it’s amazing so I’ll begin.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert  I started this a year or two ago but then forgot about it.  I rediscovered it in our move so it’s out of a box and ready to be read.  Hoping it’ll give me inspiration.

 

 

a march i would attend.

I have been silent about politics for the most part throughout this last year, but in the last few weeks as the biggest issue in my heart as been highlighted- I thought- I would humbly throw caution to the wind and share a few words.

Last week I watched as so many women gathered together to march for some amazing things…but it was all tainted by the sad news that pro-lifers were not welcome.  For me, that ruined the entire gathering in my heart…as I’ve heard so many declaring inclusion and love and equal rights- yet simultaneously alienating a group who is literally fighting for LIFE.

I have been praying for the ending of abortion since my teenage years but seven years ago, when we were matched with our oldest son’s birth mom and I read her adoption application I was hit with the truest reality…she had considered abortion.  When I look at my beautiful sweet son Josiah, tears immediately form every time I realize how easily he could have never been given a chance to live his full life.  Even as I write this, my gut feels sick as I think about all the children we’ve lost in this country.

Before we adopted, I remember flippantly talking about the alternative of abortion…as if ‘just put your baby up for adoption’ was as easy as giving away unwanted clothing.  But I was so so so wrong.  I still have no idea the depths of how gut wrenching it was/is for our children’s birth moms, but I got to watch the heart breaking process up close and it is truly awful and beautiful at the same time.  My belief is that it takes the strongest of women to choose life for their baby and give them up- birth moms are my heroes.  They are the women who found themselves in an impossible situation but chose to put their unborn child first- the ultimate sacrifice, the ultimate choice.

In no way do I desire my words to shame women who have chosen abortion, because I am not your judge and I have no idea what you’ve been through.  But, as I sit here in my kitchen and listen to the sounds of my three crazy wonderful children playing together, I can’t help but wonder how different my family would be had their mothers made a different choice.  I have never been more grateful to anyone than my children’s first mothers.

So that’s why I’d march today- at the March for Life, every day, if I could.  We have a long way to go before our country’s potential is realized…but this is a place where change can happen so tangibly.  Supporting life could be such a simple ideal- you’re alive right now because a woman brought you into this world…each life is a gift.  Find a single mom who chose to raise her kids and help her!!  Give to a family who is preparing for adoption!!  Help a family who is fostering children in their home!!  Support agencies who support pregnant mothers!!

I could go on and on because there’s never enough words to convey my heart on this issue, but instead I will leave you with three pictures.

this is what pro-life looks like to me.

Josiah.  Regan.  Maya.

josregsmaya